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Let it shine!

“Nothing good happens at night,” I said. Ron and I were watching the first minutes of an Amazon Prime series. As the scene progressed, a woman, awoken in the middle of the night, is drawn outside by her barking dog and meets her sudden demise. RE-ALLY. Anyone with any sense knows you shouldn’t go into the dark when your dog is barking its head off! But this was just a show, so no actors were harmed during the filming. The dog? I assume it went to the trainer and had a nice reward for all that barking.

I began thinking about light and dark and how they are used in Hollywood productions. When we were kids, we always knew who the good guy was in a western - he wore the white hat, right? If a character was shown creeping along a darkened street, especially if they were wearing a black hat (and a minor key, bass clef theme was playing), we knew he was The Bad Guy. The night hides lurking dangers, obscures threats. Crimes occur under the cover of darkness, animals of prey prowl during the night. Nothing good happens at night.

Light and dark throughout history has been symbolic of doing right or wrong, bad or good. My perception, accurate or not, is that people are not as constrained as they once were in malevolent thoughts and acts. It is far too easy to be pulled down by the clamor of dark enterprise, to act in unbecoming ways, to resort to name-calling and twisting truth to advance one’s own interests and viewpoints. I’ve often heard the phrase, “Why can’t we all get along?” only to observe the speaker turn around and, in the vilest of words, disrespect someone who they disagree with. The hypocrisy is obvious. The reason for the disparagement is less transparent, but the effect is clear; when people are demeaned and treated cruelly, it stirs hatred and breaks relationships. The person who verbalizes ugly thoughts may or may not hurt the object of their derision. Ironically, they do far more damage to themselves. Cruel words and acts reveal the poor character of the perpetrator, not the worth of the target.

What do you think is in the photo? Maybe it’s blown glass, or a computer-generated image. It might be a chemical experiment—kinda looks like one. Actually, it’s none of those. It is a photograph of light refracted through a glass of wine. It was taken during a delightful afternoon I spent with our New Orleans-based daughter who I see far too infrequently. As the day drew to a close, the soft rays passed through the liquid, creating rainbow hues. (If you look closely, there's a tree near the bottom of the photo.) It's pretty, but the the dark area at the top of the image is what really makes the colors pop. The result is a stunning expression of how light makes all things beautiful, especially when set against darkness. The analogy needs no explanation. May God help us to walk in stunning hues.

I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. John 8:12

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